Saturday 24 February 2018

Violent predator snatched Milly 'in the blink of an eye'

Levi Bellfield, who is accused of murder and kidnap
Levi Bellfield, who is accused of murder and kidnap

Shenai Raif and  John-Paul Ford Rojas in London

Schoolgirl Milly Dowler was killed by a violent predator who went on to kill two women, the Old Bailey heard.

Milly (13) disappeared "in the blink of an eye" when she walked within yards of where burly Levi Bellfield was living.

The day before, Bellfield had tried to lure Rachel Cowles (11) into his car, it was alleged.

But Rachel, who like Milly was dressed in her school uniform and had her hair in a pigtail, escaped when the car drove off as a police car approached, the jury was told.

Milly had fallen into Bellfield's clutches after taking a different route home from her Surrey school so she could eat chips with her friends.

Her remains were found six months later in September 2002 in woods in Yateley, Hampshire, 25 miles away.

Her body had decomposed and it was not possible to say how she died, said Brian Altman, prosecuting.

Bellfield left his rented ground floor flat in Collingwood Place, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England, the day after Milly vanished on March 21, 2002.

Mr Altman said he went on, in little more than two years, to kill two women and attempt to kill a third.

Bellfield had been convicted in 2008 of murdering Marsha McDonnell (19) in February 2003 and Amelie Delagrange (22) in August 2004, by striking them on the head with a blunt instrument. And he attempted to murder Kate Sheedy (18) in May 2004, by deliberately running her over in a car.

Former wheel-clamper and bouncer Bellfield (42), formerly of West Drayton, west London, denies Milly's kidnap and murder on March 21, 2002.

He also denies the attempted kidnap of 11-year-old Rachel Cowles in Shepperton, Surrey, on March 20, 2002.

Mr Altman said Milly, whose birth name was Amanda, had spent an ordinary day at school.

She took a train with friends and spent time with them in the station cafe at Walton-on-Thames, where they ate chips.

Then she began to walk to her home about a mile away along Station Avenue where 22 minutes later, Bellfield had driven from an access road to his flat.


Mr Altman said: "Within moments of leaving the station, she vanished -- gone in the blink of an eye. This was every parent's worst nightmare."

Mr Altman said Bellfield's partner Emma Mills and their two children had been away on the day Milly disappeared.

The following day, Bellfield had decided to move them with "indecent haste".

Rachel Cowles had been walking along Upper Halliford Road, Shepperton, three miles away when she was approached by a man in a small red car.

Rachel, now 21, recalled that the man appeared to be bald with a "chubby" head which she said was "sort of round and large".

Mr Altman said: "The prosecution say there can be no doubt that Levi Bellfield was responsible for both. He has been proven to be a predatory and violent offender toward women."

The trial was adjourned to today.

Irish Independent

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